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A lot has changed at IHS in 25 years

No matter how long Darren Berger has spent living elsewhere, he still considers Ironton his home.

The 1985 graduate of Ironton High School has been living in the Chapel Hill, N.C., area for 24 years since he moved there a year after graduation.

“It’s not home,” Berger said of North Carolina. “Even though I’ve been there longer than I’ve been here, this is still home.”

Berger, along with several of his former classmates, came home to tour the new Ironton High School for his 25-year reunion.

“It’s the first time I’ve seen it other than when I went to school here — the new and improved one,” he said.

As a 1986 graduate himself, tour guide and Principal Joe Rowe was able to point out several of the new features of the school that were not available when he and the group were students.

For instance, the school boasts classrooms that are at least 900 square feet. That’s up from 600 square feet in the old facility.

Then there’s the technology. Automatic locks and lights throughout the school, 77 security cameras as well as phones, Smart Boards and microphones in each classroom. It’s a marked change from when Berger’s father, Carl W. Berger, went to school here.

“I can’t believe what we get now,” Carl Berger, a 1961 grad, said as he looked down one of the school’s hallways. “Of course, you’re talking ’58 and ’59 through ‘61. Down through here was trophy cases, there was no lockers I don’t think on this floor.”

Graduate Candy Carlisle lives in Ironton. Her daughter is a senior at the school.

“It’s changed a lot. There’s no mold,” Carlisle said. “And there’s tiles on every bit of the ceiling.”

The school’s elevator and lockers also caught her eye.

“They can actually sell real tickets to the elevator now,” Carlisle joked. In her day, when students mentioned an elevator, it was in an effort to trick others out of their lunch money.

While all of the graduate may have been impressed with the new facility, none were more so than the reunion’s organizer, Jay Zornes.

Now a member of the Ironton Board of Education, Zornes was active in trying to get the schools’ levy passed.

“I’m extremely happy with all the schools. I think they did a good job with all the schools.”